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IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

 the Taft Courthouse located at 311 N Lincoln is closed until further notice.

Probate

Probate Court

Probate Court has original jurisdiction over actions concerning the issuance of marriage licenses, the estate of a deceased person, the will of an individual, the estate of a minor or incapacitated person, trusts, and involuntary commitments. Most probate matters are handled without a jury trial, but Probate Court does have the authority to conduct a jury trial.

Remote Appearances

In an effort to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, parties who have hearings in J1-Probate (Probate Division) are encouraged to email exhibits to the Court no later than five calendar days prior to the hearing date. The email address is ProbateExhibits@kern.courts.ca.gov.

This is for Probate matters only. If you are appearing remotely please go to Remote Court Hearings and under the section Juvenile Justice Center, select J1-Probate. Please arrive to the remote hearing 30 minutes early.

Attending Probate Hearings During COVID-19

Legal Assistants are employed by the court to review all papers filed with the probate court.  They check filings for compliance with the probate code, local court rules, and the policies of the court. As a result of this review, the Legal Assistants may identify procedural deficiencies or other concerns that need to be further addressed before the court hears the matter. This reduces the judicial time required to hear probate cases.

For further information visit:

  1. California Courts/Judicial Council - Probate Court
  2. Handbook for Conservators and Acknowledgment of Receipt
  3. Fee Schedule

Case Research

To find out if an action has been filed, you may:

  1. Use the online Case Search
    • Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  2. Visit the Probate office
    • 2100 College Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93305
  3. Request the information via mail:
    Superior Court of California County of Kern
    Probate Court
    2100 College Ave
    Bakersfield, CA 93305
  4. Search request fee, see Fee Schedule
  5. For additional information, see Court Records

Fee Waiver

If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you may apply for a fee waiver. You will be asked to provide information regarding your financial status which will be reviewed by a judge.

Fee Waiver form packets are available at no cost in the Probate Department or download the form here

Probate FAQs

Venue for Probate, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Minor Compromise (where no civil case exists) and Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death cases is the Juvenile Justice Center located at 2100 College Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93305

No, court employees may not give advice as to which legal forms to use or how to complete the forms.

You may ask the court to waive all or some of the fees by completing the applicable fee waiver request forms, and if granted an order will be made as to the fees waived. Forms may be obtained in person in the Probate Department or you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website

The court does not provide such a list. Postings for upcoming petitions for sales of property can be found on a bulletin board located just outside the Probate Department.

Michael Burger is the Kern County Probate Referee; you may contact his office directly at 661-588-4381.

Rachelle Kightlinger  is a Kern County Probate Referee; you may contact her office directly at 661-742-1601. 

CA Probate Referees Association website.

The following packets are available and may be requested in person in the Probate Department or by mail:
  • Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value
  • Conservatorship Proceedings
  • Guardianship Proceedings
  • Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property ($150,000 or less)
  • Petition for Probate
  • Spousal Property Petition
  • Establishing Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death

Where can I find statewide forms?

You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm

To find out if an action has been filed, you may:

  1. Check online
    Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  2. Visit the Probate office
    2100 College Ave Bakersfield, CA 93305
  3. Request the information via mail
    Superior Court of California
    County of Kern
    Probate Department
    2100 College Ave Bakersfield, CA 93305

Using the complete case number, go to the Probate Notes https://portal.kern.courts.ca.gov/probate-notes and select the search function. Probate Notes for past and future calendar dates are available from the time they are created. Probate Notes for matters continued to a future date, will not be available until the matter is reviewed for the future calendar date.

You may also access probate notes as hearing comments and other case specific information on our website using the following link: https://odyprodportal.kern.courts.ca.gov/PORTALPROD

  1. Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed.
  2. Locate and select the case number hyperlink for the case needed.
  3. Scroll to “Other Events Information” and maximize the view by clicking on the (+) sign to locate entries, hearings, hearing notes and minute orders.

A written request will need to be submitted for copies, which provides the case number, date and name of the document(s) requested, your contact information, the fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. When requesting a copy of a will, a court order for production of the will or a certified copy of a death certificate of the decedent must also be included. Please make checks payable to Kern County Superior court.

Court call appearances may be made in accordance to California Rules of Court, rule 3.670, and arranged directly with CourtCall LLC.
CourtCall LLC may be reached by dialing 1-888-88-COURT or 1-888-882-6878 or http://courtcall.com/contact-us/
You must pre-clear your appearance by contacting Court Call at least five (5) COURT days prior to the hearing.

You will have to petition the court for guardianship in the Probate Department, basic information about probate guardianships for children is contained in the Guardianship Pamphlet form GC-205 To obtain additional information regarding guardianships you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-guardianship.htm

How does a guardianship terminate?

A guardianship ends when 1 of the following occurs:

  • The child turns 18
  • The child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult (emancipated) by court order
  • The child dies before turning 18; or
  • The court ends the guardianship.

You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: website

You will have to petition the court for conservatorship in the Probate Department. To obtain additional information regarding conservatorship you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-conservatorship.htm

You can download the handbook from the Judicial Council's website Handbook for Conservators. The law says you must have a copy of this handbook.

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